A few years ago, I attended the NRA Annual Meetings. After a tiring morning of talking and networking, I wandered into the media room to gather my thoughts and plan for the remainder of the day. I thought that getting away from the show floor and “hiding out” for a bit would likely be a quiet, restful and low-key break for my day. Then again, I had not planned on encountering Tony Simon, founder of 2A4E, The Second Is For Everyone.
Who Is Tony Simon?
Tony is one of those people who beams with character. To me, it felt more like a reunion with a long-lost friend than an introduction to a complete stranger. It just felt like I had somehow known Tony forever. I thoroughly enjoyed his sincerity and his humor. Most importantly, I was enthralled with his work and dedication to include minorities in the fight for our Second Amendment right.
Tony grew up around guns. He participated in his high school shooting team and spent time in the military. When he moved to New Jersey, he discovered, as he put it, the state was “a place where rights go to die.” Because of New Jersey’s restrictive gun-control laws, it took Tony a while to find his way back into the gun community. But when he did, boy, did he ever! Tony became a certified firearms instructor in multiple disciplines. He went straight into a role as activist and advocate. His mission was to ensure that all people had the opportunity to train and learn how to use guns safely. He wants to help them have fun with competition shooting and, of course, be well-informed about laws that could potentially strip away our right to self-defense with a gun.
What Is 2A4E?
All in all, Tony created The Second Is For Everyone to reach out to nontraditional gun owners and brand-new shooters. He intended to break down barriers and focus on what brings us together. This is encompassed by the Second Amendment and the right to protect ourselves and the ones we love.
2A4E hosts several Diversity Shoots — educational workshops that invite all people (regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, politics or financial background) into the firearms community. Tony and his team take the time to discuss the Second Amendment and why it’s so important. They feed the attendees, give away swag bags and prizes, and teach people how to shoot safely. They also inform New Jersey residents on how to go about getting their permits and exercising their rights.
Tony loves introducing people to firearms and encouraging them to get involved with everything from competitions to concealed carry. But he also realizes that not everyone who comes to a Diversity Shoot will choose to get involved with the gun community. And that’s OK with him. If people get some knowledge, have a great experience and leave knowing that “gun people” aren’t what the media wants people to believe, Tony knows he’s done his job — and has done it well.
Where Can You Learn More?
Tony wrote an article for Concealed Carry Magazine, which appeared in our July 2018 issue. I’m scolding myself for not speaking of him or 2A4E in this column before now. Tony is such a remarkable individual, and The Second Is For Everyone is such an incredible organization. I highly recommend that people in the New Jersey area seek out Tony and check out the fantastic work he is doing — speaking, testifying, training and offering classes and events to get people involved.
How Can You Support 2A4E?
And if you are not able to get over to the “place where rights go to die,” then you can at least pay attention! Donate to the cause, buy the T-shirt and support them by donating money or products and by sharing 2A4E with your circle of friends and social media.
If you genuinely believe the Second Amendment is for everyone, then I bet you and Tony could be fast friends too. Believe me, he’s a great person to have on your side.